Sub Urb

The World’s Largest Driving Simulator (2007), built by Toyota (take a ride here). Like the little sweet cake that precipitated seven volumes of Proustian reminiscence, this promotional item provokes memories of the early days of cyberspace when, post-Neuromancer (1984), the technophilic glossy magazine Mondo 2000 (1989) (also here) slid perfect-bound into the laps of those, including my eager self, enthralled by the promises of cyberculture.

Mondo was the best magazine in the world from 1989 to at least 1993, enjoying at its peak, a circulation of over 100,000. Wired magazine came out in 1993, presaging the corporatisation of cyberculture while failing to acknowledge its debt to the vigour, flair and innovation of its technohippie- VR-as-safe-drugspace predecessor. Mondo was daft, credulous but exhilarating.

So there you are, years down the line, having savoured or endured Neal Stephenson, The Matrix, Arthur Kroker, Howard Rheingold, Tron, Jaron Lanier, the Johnnies Baudrillard and Mnemonic etc etc and you’re in your Toyota in a Tronscape of traffic and roads, looking out of your car window at The Detail. Because that’s what it’s down to. It’s all in The Detail. Without The Detail you’re in a theme park ride whizzing past ghosts and castles that someone has daubed on a wall. And we’re still in the My Arse Era because My Arse has more Detail than the Toyotascape. My Arse, of course, being real, will always have more Detail.

So why would you want to live in a place like that? Why do people want to live in the side streets visible from the main drag of the Toyotronscape? Streets that somebody built on a computer last year? Let’s not bother to go into it all over again. They don’t want The Detail.

Eventually, of course, The Detail will be there. Look at the online virtual world that is Second Life (I have, it’s ridiculous). Imagine, in ten years’ time. It’ll be like a place. Oh shut up.